Fantasy and a Christian Worldview, Part 20

There are many types of fantasy. Philip Martin in The Writer’s Guide to Fantasy Literature identifies five types: high fantasy, adventure fantasy, fairy-tale fantasy, magic realism, and dark fantasy. Within dark fantasy alone he catalogs four subsets.

Where does visionary fiction lie? Visionary fiction—the category those overseeing the Christy Awards recently developed. Since the term encompases science fiction and the spiritual warfare novels, then I guess it is a broader term even than fantasy.

I’ve been thinking recently about the difference between fantasy and spiritual warfare stories. I may have mentioned regarding Miles Owens’s excellent book Daughter of Prophecy that the story was a mixture of fantasy and the supernatural.

So what’s the difference?

In my mind it is this: Fantasy deals with the pretend, yet in a way that symbolizes or signifies greater matters extending from the imagined world to reality. Supernatural fiction interweaves an imagined representation of the spirit world into this physical world.

If anyone else has ideas about the difference, I’d be interested to hear them.

But having clarified my thoughts, I want to merge back into the discussion of evil. From my perspective, a symbol of evil is much more managable than an imagined physical representation of the same.

By “managable” I mean I have enough to deal with regarding my own sinful heart, I don’t need to set my imagination on winged demonic spirits surrounding my town.

One of the books that impacted me during my college years was Screwtape Letters, a work that certainly deals with the supernatural and specifically with evil. Yet I find interesting what Lewis had to say about evil in the Preface:

There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.

So when does a story cross the line? Or is the reader alone the one who needs to guard against an excessive and unhealthy interest in demons?

Published in: on June 10, 2006 at 12:57 pm  Comments (7)  
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